Eye Candy

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SummaryThis star-studded Lux commercial, loaded with names that usually send producers into a tizzy, sure had potential. But it stops at that.

Campaign: Bekaboo

Brand: Lux Peach and Cream, Lux Strawberry and Cream

Company: HUL

Agency: JWT (Singapore)

The Campaign

The film begins with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in his most loved loverboy avatar at a party with a guitar in his hand. He's humming a song (the popular Dil De Diya, re-written by Gulzar). Suddenly, the fragrance of Lux enchants him no end and his performance transforms from a sad ballad to a joyous romantic rendition. The source of the fragrance is Katrina Kaif, his co-star in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, who is shown using Lux and covered in rose petals et al.

As Kaif walks into the party, the soundtrack takes on a Sufi flavour. Khan is elated, their eyes meet and the two shake a leg or two, in trademark Shah Rukh style. The ad ends with Kaif saying “Bas zara sa Lux,” (Just a little Lux).

Our Take

Big-budget flick turning into a box-office bomb. Deja vu, isn't it? The star-studded commercial, loaded with names that usually send producers into a tizzy – Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Gulzar, and Sonu Nigam – sure had potential. But it stops at that. It's extravagant for sure, considering the glitterati ensemble, the cinema-istic look, feel and sound, and the ad dripping with gooey romance. Fireworks expected? Yes. But it ends up being a damp squib. The film, directed by French director Juan Delcan, has nothing more to offer than a copious dose of Bollywood romance that doesn't work that well even on the silver screen anymore. Of course, it coinciding with the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan is actually no coincidence, with the brand attempting to leverage the interest that Yash Chopra's swansong had already generated. But so in-the-face is the association that the ad looks as if it's been shot on the sets of Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Come on, be a little more imaginative, a little more creative. You had one of the greatest superstars Indian cinema has seen, one of the most perfect looking women from Bollywood, but the magic wasn't there. It just seems like the easiest run-of-the-mill formula available was applied. One would rate the earlier Lux campaign that featured real-life couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan better than the latest offering. It was shot well, looked great, had a catchy soundtrack and the characters had a stronger association in the minds of the consumers. But in the soundtrack department, even this new ad is quite good with the re-arranged song filling up voids that a stereotypical ad can leave otherwise. This much has to be said. Apart from that, it's just another pretty looking beauty soap ad, which if not watched for its complete duration can be mistaken for a movie trailer.

Of course, we do remember Khan's earlier association with Lux back in 2005. In that TV ad, he was immersed in a rose petal strewn bathtub, with some of the biggest leading ladies of Indian cinema – Hema Malini, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, and Kareena Kapoor looking on. Whether you liked it or not, you sat up and took notice. Sadly, that's not the case here. Great potential, if not realised, can at times lead to great disappointments. It's not that the ad is too bad or anything. In other regular departments, the ad is just fine. The brand communication is clear, it's straightforward, and not layered much. What makes it look bad is the fact that it could have been so much, and yet it's not.

Ratings: **

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